LRT train derails at Belfast Yard
1 set of wheels came off tracks in 'minor setback,' officials say
An LRT train came off the track at the Belfast Yard maintenance and storage facility Friday morning in what city officials are characterizing as a "minor setback."
Troy Charter, the city's director of transit operations, said one of the two-car train's 10 wheel sets left the track at around 5 a.m. while the train was about to begin ongoing testing.
"It happened in the yard where the trains are operating at a slow rate of speed," Charter said during a new conference early Friday afternoon.
"Our system, staff and all our resources responded accordingly."
The train has been placed back on the track, and Charter said testing was set to resume later Friday afternoon.
There were no injuries in the incident, Charter confirmed.
Both Charter and Claude Jacob, general manager of the maintenance arm of Rideau Transit Group (RTG), characterized the incident as minor.
"It's absolutely normal," Jacob said, noting similar derailments happen with rail systems worldwide.
"In any rail system you could have this occurred," Charter agreed. "This is a minor setback."
Charter said a thorough review will be conducted to determine how the incident occurred.
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The derailment is the latest issue plaguing the Confederation Line construction, which has been delayed three times. It was originally supposed to be completed a year ago, but didn't make that initial deadline due to setbacks caused by the June 2016 sinkhole on Rideau Street.
Then RTG — the consortium building the LRT system that runs from Blair to Tunney's Pasture — set two more deadlines, which it then missed: one for November 2018; and another for March 2019.
CBC has also reported on the challenges faced by trains operating in winter conditions. The Alstom Citadis Spirit trains have not been used in a North American city before, according to the manufacturer.
No new date
RTG has been working to deliver the light rail system to the city by the end of June. Mayor Jim Watson has said he's "confident" it will be running shortly after Canada Day, although last November he made similar comments about the train running in spring of 2019.
However, RTG has not officially given the city a new deadline yet. Technically, the consortium has until the end of this month to set a new date.
The next official update to council on the massive transit project is set for next Friday at the finance and economic development committee. In recent weeks, many more two-car trains have been seen travelling in both directions on the 12.5-kilometre system.
Before handing the LRT over to the city, RTG is supposed to run the entire system for 12 consecutive days to mimic real operating conditions.
With files from Kimberly Molina